Tip #1: Avoid Dr. Google

Tip #1: If you must google your symptoms, add the word ‘Anxiety’ to the end of the sentence.

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The why: The most recognisable symptoms of anxiety are; feeling like you can’t breathe, a sudden sense of doom, and a racing heart. But anxiety can manifest itself into a very large number of physical oddities. These include a foggy head, a tight head, shooting pains in the head, feeling your tongue is too big for your mouth, feeling like your throat is swollen or closed, clammy hands, a sudden burning sensation in the ears, a sudden hot flush in the face. This list is nowhere near exhaustive (even though these symptoms can be exhausting).

If you feel a symptom you have not felt before, and cannot resist the charm of Dr. Google, try writing the word ‘anxiety’ after the problem. If Dr. Google then tells you that this symptom can be the result of anxiety, then you can feel reassured that you are currently experiencing a panic attack, but not something life-threatening. Once this has been noted, your brain can then relax with the knowledge that its causing the onset of distressing physical symptoms, and not something more sinister, which then in turn makes the symptoms subside.

Anxiety can manifest itself in a horrendously large amount of ways. Occasionally, you may not even realise you are in the midst of a panic attack due to the lack of the usual suspects. This is because the rush of hormones and physical responses to a perceived threat can affect all and any area(s) of the body.

You can get caught in a negative feedback loop where you notice something’s wrong, which increases your anxiety, which increases the presence of the physical symptoms, which means the feeling of something being wrong persists. The more you focus on a symptom, the less likely it is to dissipate. Repeating to yourself, and knowing, that your symptom is due to your anxiety will help calm you down. 

Googling physical symptoms with the phrase ‘anxiety’ at the end also directs you to some amazing websites, which explain how anxiety can cause all the various physical responses. With this knowledge, your body will no longer be an unknown assailant. Armed with facts, you can more easily reason yourself out of a panic attack. When dealing with anxiety, knowledge is truly power.

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